Sizing Up the Political Scene: “Wokeness Is a Problem, and Everybody Knows It”

I’ve been working up to a long piece here about the extraordinary political scene, starting with the premise that it’s one thing for Progressive Twitter to run the New York Times, and quite another when Progressive Twitter runs the entire Democratic Party. But that’s where we are. (P)resident Joe Biden has sold out wholly to the Progressive mob, full stop.

Biden won the presidency (yes, I know—if he won) by the narrowest margin, but is governing as though Democrats had won by an FDR-Reagan landslide margin. The last president with a 50/50 Senate and close House of Representatives, George W. Bush, took care to govern close to the center, and sought out Democratic input to his signature legislative initiative of his first year, the No Child Left Behind Act. (Leave the [de]merits of that aside for some other time.) Biden isn’t even pretending to try to deal with Republicans, and in fact up to ten moderate Senate Republicans who have indicated their willingness to reach compromises with Biden are reportedly furious that their good faith efforts to reach across to Biden have been used as window dressing by the White House.

It is significant, therefore, to note new data from the Washington Post/NBC poll that finds Biden has a 52 percent public approval rating at 100 days, which, the Post admits “is the lowest of any recent commander-in-chief at this point in their administration except for former President Donald Trump.” This certainly clashes with the media’s nonstop love affair with the FDR-like “transformative” president they want Biden to be (because Obama wasn’t much). Steve Moore observes further:

But what really caught our eye was that 78%, or almost 4 of 5 Republicans, “strongly disapprove” of Biden’s performance. Amazingly, that’s a higher disapproval rating than Trump had with Democratic voters, which was 72% in spring of 2017. The Post poll also shows Republican voters had a much less negative opinion of Obama at this stage.

In other words, Biden is more polarizing than either Obama or Trump at this point.

Meanwhile, I persist in arguing that the Democratic Party’s lurch to the far left is doing us a great favor by making explicit and visible what they usually try to conceal, and setting up a backlash that might actually break the country’s now three-decade old 50-50 split. My two witnesses are Democratic strategist James Carville, and New York Times columnist (but vehemently anti-Trump) Bret Stephens, both of whom say much the same thing today, despite having very different political outlooks.

Let’s start with Stephens in his column “Race the the Coming Liberal Crackup“:

And yet those doubts and misgivings [about the left’s relentless racism narrative] go to the heart of what used to be thought of as liberalism. The result will be a liberal crackup similar to the one in the late 1960s that broke liberalism as America’s dominant political force for a generation. . .

Above all, liberalism believes that truth tends to be many-shaded and complex. Anti-racism is a great simplifier. Good and evil. Black and white. This is where the anti-racism narrative will profoundly alienate liberal-minded America, even as it entrenches itself in schools, universities, corporations and other institutions of American life. . .

Joe Biden’s resounding victory and his progressive policies are supposed to mark the real end of the Reaganite era of American politics. Don’t be surprised if they’re a prelude to its return, just as the last era of progressive excess ushered in its beginning.

Just as I’ve been saying since January 20. Meanwhile, James Carville, who knows a thing or two about defeating Republicans, talked to Vox, and already the wokeratri are furious with him. You can see why:

Sean Illing: What do you make of Biden’s first 100 days?

James Carville: Honestly, if we’re just talking about Biden, it’s very difficult to find something to complain about. And to me his biggest attribute is that he’s not into “faculty lounge” politics.

Sean Illing: “Faculty lounge” politics?

James Carville: You ever get the sense that people in faculty lounges in fancy colleges use a different language than ordinary people? They come up with a word like “Latinx” that no one else uses. Or they use a phrase like “communities of color.” I don’t know anyone who speaks like that. I don’t know anyone who lives in a “community of color.” I know lots of white and Black and brown people and they all live in … neighborhoods.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with these phrases. But this is not how people talk. This is not how voters talk. And doing it anyway is a signal that you’re talking one language and the people you want to vote for you are speaking another language. This stuff is harmless in one sense, but in another sense it’s not.

Sean Illing: Is the problem the language or the fact that there are lots of voters who just don’t want to hear about race and racial injustice?

James Carville: We have to talk about race. We should talk about racial injustice. What I’m saying is, we need to do it without using jargon-y language that’s unrecognizable to most people — including most Black people, by the way — because it signals that you’re trying to talk around them. This “too cool for school” shit doesn’t work, and we have to stop it. . .

Sean Illing: Sounds like you got a problem with “wokeness,” James.

James Carville: Wokeness is a problem and everyone knows it. It’s hard to talk to anybody today — and I talk to lots of people in the Democratic Party — who doesn’t say this. But they don’t want to say it out loud.

Sean Illing: Why not?

James Carville: Because they’ll get clobbered or canceled. And look, part of the problem is that lots of Democrats will say that we have to listen to everybody and we have to include every perspective, or that we don’t have to run a ruthless messaging campaign. Well, you kinda do. It really matters.

I think Carville is mistaken in saying that Biden is “not into faculty lounge politics.” He’s wholly captured by it. But I think Carville may be trying to be clever or tactical, by creating some artificial daylight between Biden and the insanity gripping his party.

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